tv MSNBC Live With Ali Velshi MSNBC August 9, 2018 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
concert. although your show is named after ac/dc, it's more a phish lyric, which is what i put in sharpie with the shirt that you gave me. it's -- >> i'm happy to go to a phish any time just don't drag me to the dave matthews band. i'm kasie hunt in for ali velshi and i have a packed hour for you, including the democrats' push for the house and, of course, space force. but first there's, quote, so many lying and dishonest people, says president trump. that's the picture he and his legal team are working to painting as his lawyers continue to delay an interview with the special counsel. so far the ongoing negotiations don't look so promising. >> why do you want to get him under oath? you think we're fools? you want to get him under oath because you want to trap him into perjury. we're not going to let you do that. the real story is that that this
case is going to fizzle, it's going to blow up on them. the real question what we talked about before, there's a lot more to what they did that nobody knows about yet. >> that nobody knows about yet. as axios writes, trump's lawyer, rudy giuliani, is setting unmeetable expectations for special counsel robert mueller. a kind of insurance policy with the president's base. if that's what it is, an insurance policy, the president's lawyers aren't the only ones taking part. last night "the rachel maddow show" aired secretly recorded audio of the chairman of the house intelligence committee, a key trump ally. take a listen. >> so therein lies -- so it's like your classic catch-22 situation where we were at a -- this puts us in such a tough spot. if sessions won't unrecuse and mueller won't clear the president, we're the only ones, which is really the danger. that's why i keep -- and thank you for saying it, by the way. we have to keep all these seats.
we have to keep the majority. if we do not keep the majority, all of this goes away. >> let's start in berkeley heights, new jersey, where the president begins his 11-day working vacation. that's where we find kelly o'donnell. good to see you. last night giuliani said there were things that weren't yet public about mueller or potential wrongdoing and then today trump ended that tweet with stay tuned. what do you know about what we are waiting for? >> reporter: well, this has been an ongoing campaign, kasie, from the president's legal team to bit by bit discredit the investigation so that particularly trump voters and those in the republican party would give it less weight as things go forward and at the same time it's also been about dragging out the really big ending game question. will the president participate in any way submitting to an interview with the special counsel. that could have been answered long ago, perhaps, by simply
saying that the lawyers don't think it's a wise idea. they will freely say they have grave concerns about it. but instead of doing that, they have taken time to try to narrow the scope, discuss the terms, look at in person versus written questions, all these different variations which have dragged this out. and now they're sort of dangling the idea that there is more to discredit the investigation and the people who have played a part in it. but we don't yet know what the specifics are. as you point out, the president today tweeting this illegally brought, rigged witch hunt run by people who are totally corrupt or conflicted. so all of those loaded terms wrapped in there. 17 angry dems toward the end which is his reference to staffers on the investigative team and stay tuned. the president, of course, has said he wants to tell what he knows, he wants to clear his name. his lawyers have said they understand that he wants to do that, believing that he's got the kind of personality and the ability to convey that. when they talk perjury trap, they say that if the president
tells his version of events, and they say those are accurate and they conflict with someone like james comey, for example, that prosecutors could determine that there is a conflict here that must mean that the president is not telling the truth. therefore, charge him if you will, although you don't typically charge a sitting president, but put out a report that says he has been untruthful and has committed perjury. this really has a political end game, as you understand. it goes to congress in the form of a written report from the special counsel, and that's why the midterms are so important. if democrats are in charge, we might have an idea of which way they would take it. if republicans hang on, they would try more than likely to protect the president based on what we know today. >> and certainly that's what devin nunes was suggesting not so subtly in that. >> exactly. now to the insider trading charges against president trump's first ally in the congress, new york congressman chris collins. last night collins went in front of the microphones and vowed to
fight to clear his name. >> the charges that have been levied against me are meritless, and i will mount a vigorous defense in court to clear my name. i look forward to being fully vindicated and exonerated, ending any and all questions relating to my affiliation with innate. >> that is the biotech company and collins was a board member there. the feds allege that at last year's congressional picnic, you can see him in that circle, when he heard that one of the company's products failed a drug trial. they say collins then called his son, who sold his shares in the company and avoided losing hundreds of thousands of dollars when the drug's failure went public. collins, his son and the father of his son's fiancee all pleaded not guilty to insider trading and lying to investigators. collins is up for re-election in november, and so far the president has remained silent on the case. the president is also staying
silent, at least today, about the trial of his former campaign manager, paul manafort. it's been a pretty interesting 24 hours in that case. we told you all about the criticisms that the judge in the case has levied at the prosecution. but this morning, he apologized, not for this long list of instances in which the judge went after the prosecution, but instead for a very specific exchange yesterday. it started when the judge realized that an expert witness had been in court and heard previous testimony. when the prosecution reminded the judge that he granted their motion that allowed the expert to stay, the judge said, according to the transcript, quote, let me be clear, i don't care what the transcript says. maybe i made a mistake. but i want you to remember don't do that again. when i exclude witnesses, i mean everybody. now, it may be that i didn't make that clear. it may be that i did allow this, but don't do it in the future. i want to bring in jacob frankel. he is now a partner at dickinson, wright and also joined by joyce vance, one of
our esteemed legal contributors. jacob, let's start with the chris collins case. you wrote for "forbes" about the charges against him, saying that it mirrors that of what happened with martha stewart. what are the similarities? why should people focus on that? >> to me the similarities are that both cases involve loss avoidance. people think of insider trading as somebody making money based on information they received about some event that's going to happen and they profit because the stock is going up. here, in both situations, these were sales where you had failed drug tests that would have an immediate impact on the stock price, in fact involving innate with congressman collins, the stock price went down 92%. >> it was basically everything was riding on this drug trial for this company. >> that's exactly what's alleged in the indictment. so to me the similarity is the concept of loss avoidance as a basis for insider trading. you know, the denials from congressman collins and his camp really ring hollow because even
though he personally did not profit, did not trade, the fact that he tipped information. this is about he being a director of a public company, having a fiduciary duty to maintain confidentiality and breaching that duty. that's called tipping. and in that situation, that is also a violation of the securities laws. the other analogy to martha stewart or the other reason i think the martha stewart connection is important is because martha stewart was convicted for false statements. if you look at the collins indictment, everybody who cooperated with the government, even if they had culpability but was not charged with lying -- >> they're not getting charged. >> the only people who were charged were the people who lied in the investigation. that's consistently the basis for a downfall in criminal cases. >> i feel like i keep saying this on the air. don't lie to the fbi, it doesn't seem that hard. joyce vance, can you weigh in here on one thing that stuck out to us here at the show.
when president trump was throwing out the possibility of who to pardon, he mentioned martha stewart and it would be for a similar crime. this is of course his first congressional ally in the congress. >> it is his first congressional ally in the congress, but i think it's so important for us to understand that the pardon power is not a power that presidents are meant to wield on behalf of their friends and families. the pardon power exists so that the chief executive in our government can do justice. for instance, during the obama administration when congress amended sentencing policies to treat people who had been convicted of crack cocaine offenses the same as folks who had been convicted as powder cocaine offenses, that sentencing change wasn't retroactive and so president obama used the pardon power to create fairness for all people who had been accused of those crimes, whether it was going forward or looking backwards. what we're contemplating here is
very different. it's a president telling his friends, it's okay, you can get away with your crimes because i'll pardon you. it's reprehensible. it's one of many features of this administration that's unacceptable. >> joyce, let me get you to weigh in to too on the other story we are covering on the legal front, that paul manafort trial and this apology from the judge in the case. pretty remarkable for him to essentially say, no, i didn't do the thing that you said that i did and today it seems like he's walking it back. you have been in courtrooms like this before. this judge certainly seems to be turning into a significant character in this trial. >> well, here's what's really going on. there's a rule that's usually invoked by either prosecutors or defenders at the beginning of a criminal trial called the rule against witnesses. that's a rule against permitting witnesses to remain in the courtroom and hear all of the testimony that precedes their own. but usually the defendant -- well, always the defendant can remain in the courtroom and
usually the government is permitted to have a representative, either an agent or in this case the government asked if their irs expert could remain in the courtroom and the judge said sure, that's fine. he apparently had a memory lapse or something that caused him to think that the government was trying to pull a fast one on him and he admonished them in front of the jury. and here's why that's problematic. juries bond with judges. they begin to think like judges. so to hear the judge calling the government out could definitely prejudice the jury against the government. the judge did the right thing here. he considered the government's motion, walked back in and told the jury that what the government had done was okay. it was sort of a lukewarm apology. i think we have to say he said i haven't reviewed the transcript, but i think i was wrong. but that, i think, is enough. the important takeaway here is that the government at the close of the trial when the judge instructs the jury on the law, the government will be looking for an instruction where the judge tells the jury, you should
ignore any comments that i've made during the trial, anything that i've said about the facts is not binding on you. you are the finder of the facts, i am the judge of the law. do not consider my opinions in reaching your conclusion. the government, i think, is setting up a very forceful case to make sure that that pretty standard pedestrian instruction is included in this judge's comments to the jury before they deliberate. >> jacob, quickly before we wrap up, the one word i've learned ei never knew before is black robitis. you've worked on many many complex financial cases. that's clearly what's going on in this case. they have laid out everything pretty clearly and it does seem as though while the case may not be completely airtight, it certainly is significant. >> no question about it. the case that we're seeing against paul manafort is a classic tax case. really any problems with the case really tie out to how the
government has been trying to put the case in and may be overtrying it. also having been a federal prosecutor with independent counsel and lived through one of these animals is there really is that fear in some respects in that first case to make sure you do everything possible to win the case. what you have here is a judge who's trying to make sure this case is being tried as fairly as possible. unfortunately, that's not to the liking of any of the lawyers. >> tricky. jacob frankel, joyce vance, thank you for your insights today. coming up next, it's an out of this world announcement by the white house. >> it is not enough to merely have an american presence in space. we must have american dominance in space. and so we will. >> the united states space force, a new space wars fighting branch of the armed services. so what's its mission? we'll ask former secretary of
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russia is vowing to strike back after the u.s. announced a new round of sanctions over that uk nerve agent attack, and the u.s. space program could be affected. state-owned news agency says a russian lawmaker suggested that moscow could restrict exports of a rocket engine that's crucial to our space launches. the u.s. needs that engine to launch satellites and send cargo to the international space
station. but that story is by no means the biggest space-related story today. far from it, in fact. today the trump administration proudly rolled out its plan for the new space force. or as the president tweeted, space force all the way! so what is it and why do we need it? here is how the vice president explained it in the official announcement this morning. >> the space environment is fundamentally changed in the last generation. what was once peaceful and uncontested is now crowded and adversarial. the united states space force will strengthen our security, it will ensure our prosperity, and it will also carry american ideals into the boundless expanse of space. >> the vice president says the space force, which requires approval from congress, would be established as a separate branch of the armed forces by 2020. joining me now to take a closer
look at this is former secretary of the air force, deborah lee james. she oversaw the air force space command during her time at the pentagon. deborah, thanks for being here, really appreciate it. i want to show you a little bit more of what vice president mike pence had to say about why we need this. take a look. >> previous administrations all but neglected the growing security threats emerging in space. president trump stated clearly and forcefully that space is in his words a war-fighting domain just like land and air and sea. as president trump has said in his words it is not enough to merely have an american presence in space. we must have american dominance in space. and so we will. >> so you're familiar with our capabilities as they exist currently. what are we doing right, what are we doing wrong, and do we need what the president is proposing? >> well, i will tell you, first of all, that there is no space
faring nation that is more powerful and advanced than the united states and the u.s. air force so we are doing a lot of things right. the vice president is correct that in recent years our potential adversaries have been testing and investing in ways that could threaten us in space. so the challenge is to always continue to stay ahead as we are today. i do not think the president's proposal for a separate branch of the military to stand up a brand new space force is the way to go. i think it will sap time, attention away from what we need to. >> it seems like an awfully quick timeline, 2020, to build up an entire new branch of the military. would that even be feasible? >> well, it could be feasible, but the question is will it be workable? will it be a smooth, well-oiled machine? and i think the answer is no. anyone who thinks such a large transformation and creating a whole new separate branch of the military is going to be quick or
easy needs to think again. it is going to be long, drawn out. i worry that the bureaucratic thrashing that will go on will just take away from the more important issues, which are how do we improve war fighting capability, how do we do new technology investments. >> there is a history in the united states of civilian cooperation for certain space projects, the international space station. we have had joint ventures with the russians, chinese. how does that fit into this newer, more adversarial view of what's going on in space? >> as you point out, we have always had scientific civilian endeavors that we have done jointly and we continue to do those with russia. but when it comes to national security space, which is the domain of the united states air force, the nro, this is separate and apart. and here is where we do not have cooperation, certainly nothing close with the russian military. they are a potential adversary. >> do we think -- and i've been talking to some of my sources about this, who mostly have been
cracking many jokes in my inbox about it more than anything else. but is there any chance congress would support something like this? it's a huge, new expensive branch of the military. in theory, there's the national security arguments you lay out, but it seems to me like it will have a tough road. >> i think it will have a tough road. i think it does have some support in the house of representatives. you may recall that they proposed a space corps which had similar properties. not the same, but similar. i think the senate will question it very strongly. i always come back to the very simple question, what is the problem you're trying to solve, and will a reorganization do it for you? the main problem is war fighting. military services do not do the war fighting in this country. those are done by combatant commands and unified commands. they are the ones who do strategy, concepts of operations. >> for people who aren't intimately familiar, that means a group of separate group together of different segments
of the military force? >> that's right. it's a joint approach and it is all about how do we do a strategy for actually conducting the military operation. i would note that the president's report today did call for the stand-up of a new space command, which would focus on war fighting. i happen to agree with that, an that would be a relatively easy situation because space is currently controlled by stratcom. so stratcom would do nuclear, space command would do space. >> and that would be like centcom people might have heard a lot about. deborah lee james, thank you for your insights today, really appreciate it. >> thank you. coming up next, the race is on. how many seats will democrats have to win in november's midterms to take control of the house? steve cokoernacki reveals the mc number. one year after charlottesville, the stars of "black klansmen" talk about the
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despite the fact that the winner in ohio's too close to call special election is still unknown, all eyes are now on november. 88 days until the midterms and the magic number is 23. that's how many seats democrats are looking to flip in order to regain control of the house. can they do it? for that i'm joined by nbc news national political correspondent steve kornacki. steve, what evidence are you seeing here? there have been, it seems, many anecdotal examples of the blue wave, but i think we're all a little worried of polling and data after being so surprised in 2016. how do you read it? >> yeah. look, historically the president's approval rating is sitting in that zone where you say the other party could do really well. we've seen the special elections where democrats have improved on 2016. we've seen signs of energy on the democratic side. so we see a lot of the ingredients there. of course we are in a very
polarized country right now, a very tribalized country in a lot of ways. so that number 23 in some ways is very feasible when you look at history. when you look more at sort of the paralysis, the political paralysis, you say maybe it will be tougher for democrats. so we partnered with nbc digital to take a fun closer look at that quest that democrats have for 23. 23. >> 23 is the number we have to be thinking about. >> because this is the number of seats democrats need to pick up if they're going to win back the house in november. now, they can definitely get there, but it's by no means certain they're going to be able to. >> so the question is, is there a blue wave coming? >> so for democrats to get those seats, there are a lot of places they can look around the country. but there's one type of district that really stands out. >> it's the 25 districts across the usa that republicans hold that were also won by hillary clinton in 2016.
so what we're saying is that the democrats need 23 seats. >> and they do have 25 prime targets, and there are some more seats outside of this they could pick off too. but the biggest problem, even if all of the ingredients are there for democrats in this age of polarization, there just may not be as many targets as there used to be. so there are 25 obvious targets for democrats, and there are dozens of others that they are working furiously to try to flip. >> but there's a wild card factor. >> in 2016 all of the polls spelled doom for donald trump, but he won anyway. in 2018, could we be in for another surprise some. >> and again, that's a little snippet of the fun we had. there are 25 republicans in districts that already didn't vote for trump in 2016. that's the first line after tack for democrats. but you saw in ohio 12 this week, that's certainly not one of those districts. there are other possibilities for democrats they are trying to put in play, places where trump
won narrowly, places where trump won seven, eight, nine, ten points. it was 11 in ohio 12. back to you, kasie. >> steve kornacki, thank you. i do think my sources are telling me there's some surprising districts that we may find, pete sessions district down in texas, kathy mcmorris rogers now potentially a toss-up so we could be in for some surprises on election night. our thanks to -- i love those left field productions. that's really cool you got a chance to do one. you can see more of that at the nbc left field youtube channel. youtube.com/nbcleftfield. up next, an election mistake cut kris kobach's lead in half in the gop primary for kansas governor. it could go to a recount. if it does, kobach's office is the one that would handle it. he says he won't recuse himself. the state's former governor weighs in on that, up next on msnbc. know what? no, what?
one of the closest races from tuesday's primaries just got even tighter, apparently thanks to bad handwriting. kansas elections officials say a mistake in one county's tally has cut secretary of state kris kobach's lead to just 91 votes. he's running against incumbent governor jeff colyer. kobach, who led president trump's now disbanded voter fraud task force is the state's top elections official. but he says he has no plans to recuse himself from a potential recount.
>> as a practical matter, the secretary of state doesn't actually do anything in the counting of votes. all of the provisional votes are counted by the 105 counties. the secretary of state's office just sort of sits there and watches. at the end of the day receives the tallies from the counties. so if i recuse myself, it wouldn't really make any difference. it would be purely spol ymbolic >> joining us now is former health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius, currently ceo of the strategic firm sebelius resources. it's great to see you, madam secretary, thank you for being here. i want to ask you, first of all, about the state of play in your home state as you see it today. there has been a lot of discussion about what happens if in fact mr. kobach wins the gubernatorial primary and raising the question of whether or not democrats might actually have a shot at getting elected
as kansas governor again. >> well, kasie, first of all, nice to be with you. secondly, we're looking very closely at the primary results. great news for democrats. we have a strong nominee who in a multi-way primary race got over 50% of the vote. laura kelly, sitting state senator, is well positioned to be a terrific candidate. on the republican side, as you said, we either have sam brownback's long-term lieutenant governor, his secondhand guy who was responsible for a lot of the economic downturn, cutting schools, cutting taxes, doing a number of things that sent the state into economic freefall or kris kobach, who is now nationally known as a strong anti-immigration, voter restriction, regressive
politician who has been under court sanction and actually sent back to school by a judge. so either one of those individuals, i think, is not going to be a very attractive nominee for kansas. we know a strong woman can be elected in kansas. i served two terms, was elected twice in this state. i also got elected twice statewide as an insurance commissioner, so this is not hyperbole to say democrats who are pro choice and strongly positioned can win a seat in kansas. it's been done very recently and laura kelly is really well positioned to do that. the other thing i heard your other report about the 25 seats that are top -- >> i think we have a map that we can put up there or at least some results. that was very close. you can see here 2016 hillary clinton won by 47 to 46%.
you think this potentially could flip? >> i think it absolutely could flip. and we have a terrific woman, native american lawyer candidate who has fought her way. we're not used to primaries as democrats, but we've had so much interest in people stepping up and wanting to serve and run for office that we've had primaries up and down the ticket. charice davids is a terrific candidate and she'll be well positioned to take out an incumbent in that district. we also have an open seat that is not as likely -- well, trump won in 2016 the seat but our candidate is an enormously popular candidate who ran for governor, narrowly lost to sam brownback and had no primary. so paul davis is positioned to
run in the 2nd. so we have two seats here in kansas that easily could be flipped. >> do you have any concerns that the democrat you've nominated might be too progressive? although, i do know kansas in many ways has been on the leading edge of progressive politics for many years. >> well, that's true. i think that the myth is somehow this is a backwards state. i would tell you that this is a state founded by abolitionists. it has great civil rights laws, human rights laws. women, when laura kelly is elected, she will be the third democratic woman governor in the state. there are only 28 states that have ever elected a woman governor. we've had women serve up and down the ticket in all offices, so kansas is, i think, very much at play and i'm very encouraged by the turnout in the election, by the candidates who were chosen, and we'll see how long it takes to sort out which bad
republican ends up at the top of the ticket, but i can tell you either one of them has a record that isn't in line with where kansas voters want to go. >> kathleen sebelius, thanks very much for your insights today. appreciate it. >> thank you. still ahead, puerto rico's government has quietly acknowledged that the number of people who died because of hurricane maria is more than 20 times higher than first reported. so why are we just finding out now? that's next. for investors. introducing zero account fees for self-directed brokerage accounts. and zero minimums to open an account. we have fidelity mutual funds with zero minimum investment. and now fidelity has two index funds with a zero expense ratio. because when you invest with fidelity, all those zeros really add up. ♪ so maybe i'll win ♪ saved by zero
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nearly one year after hurricane maria devastated puerto rico, we are getting the stunning news that the death toll may be at least 20 times higher than first reported. the government of puerto rico now estimates that more than 1,400 people died in the aftermath of the destructive hurricane. msnbc's mariana atencio joins me now with more. mar aun mariana, how can we go from 64 deaths to 1,400? >> honestly for almost a year now we have known the death toll was much higher than 64. our nbc news teams have consistently gone back to puerto rico and you hear the stories of people whose loved ones died because of delayed medical care.
the truckloads of bodies at the morgue. the mountainous communities that were cut off. so the stories were there. then all these independent studies started coming out, most notably a harvard one that estimated the death toll was actually over 4,600 people in maria-related deaths. so the government under pressure to conduct their own study, they hired george washington university to do that. that study hasn't even been published yet. but we got this new number of the revised death toll in this reconstruction plan for puerto rico when they actually submitted a $139 billion aid package for the reconstruction of the island over the next ten years. so that's how we found out about this new number. 1,427 people. it is actually the first time that the island government has even acknowledged a death toll higher than 64.
>> what's the status of the infrastructure there as well? one has to think that if the infrastructure continues to deteriorate that that's going to contribute to even more health problems and potentially even deaths. >> so when you read the specific story cited in that report, because these are more than numbers. at the end of the day this is about people and human beings and the focus groups, the interviews, they all highlight deaths that were related to the infrastructure. for example, doctors say that their patients died because of delayed medical care because, for example, their respirators were off when the power went off. or these communities that were cut off. people that were stuck in their cars that couldn't get out because of the way that the island is structured. so it really emphasized these structural issues that the island is going to have to deal with to avoid a loss of life like the one we saw after hurricane maria.
kasie. >> mariana atencio, thank you as always for your continued focus on that story. a warning now, the images you're about to see are very disturbing. the red cross reports that dozens of children are among the 43 people killed today in a saudi attack on a school bus in a crowded market in yemen. many of those children were under 10 years old. the attack is the latest strike on civilians carried out by an american-backed coalition of saudi arabia and the united arab emirates. their goal is to target houthi rebels who seized power from yemen's government. moments ago the u.s. state department responded to these reports. >> i can't confirm all the details because we are not there on the ground. we can say that we're certainly concerned about these reports that resulted -- that there was an attack that resulted in the deaths of civilians. we call on the saudi-led
coalition to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the incident. >> at least 100,000 people have been killed in the three-year war. up next, the untold story of a black man who infiltrated the ku klux klan. after the break, ali velshi talks race in america with the stars of the film "black klansman."
charlottesville, virginia. charlottesville and parts of northern virginia will be under a state of emergency this weekend. the organizers of last august's rally unite the right will mark the day with a rally in washington, d.c. after being denied permission to march in charlottesville. a counter protest is also being planned. my colleague ali velshi sat down with the stars of black klansman, a new movie examining race in america. here is ali's conversation with john david and tofer grace. >> it seems every day we see headlines like this, and this, and this. and all these. and it was a year ago this month that this overt racism in our country was most egregious and it's as these headlines are unfolding that spike lee's newest movie is premiering. it's called black klansman. it's the story of the first black detective in the 1907s. he successfully infill freighted the local chapter of the kkk.
you're sitting there thinking how does that happen? you have to watch the movement i to see that. joining me are the two stards of the -- stars of the movie who plays john stallworth. the movie opens august 10, j.d. people are watching this interview who haven't seen the movie and thinking, wait a second, a guy you play infiltrated a local branch of the kkk in colorado springs? >> right, right. unbelievable, right? piece of american history, and it's not common knowledge. i was offant awan't aware of it. i attended a historically black college. this slipped through the cracks. i was surprised with this information. i got deeper into it and i realized how impactful it could be as a film and i'm excited to be part of it. >> you play david duke which has to be tough for you after that film has aired and people see you and look into your face. people don't know david duke,
the klansman who has resurfaced now reese endcently in politics. you play him as an easy character. he doesn't seem demonic, he seems like a nice guy who just wants a whiter america. >> that is the problem with david duke. that is what makes him so much more evil than what the idea of a racist was before he came on the scene. same thing kind of happens in the movie. >> yeah. >> when my character enters, there is kind of the first half of the movie they show what maybe the common idea of a racist. >> the prototypical idea of a racist. >> beer belly, red neck dude. and then he came on the scene and his evil genius as he kind of rebranded racism, and the effects are still being felt today. >> rebranding racism is an interesting concept. there is a poll from last month where people were asked, is donald trump a racist?
49% said yes, 47% say no. >> that's close. >> it's close, right? and this is kind of interesting because, you know, trump -- spike lee said this wasn't meant to necessarily be social commentary about trump's america. it's really hard to not see the parallels. >> well, i mean, it's sort of history of hate, hate language. i feel like the rebranding, if you will, has been going on. birth of a nation was rebranded. david duke was a resurgence -- >> birth of a nation was shown in the white house by woodrow wilson. >> there you go. these things have been happening and the resurgence of such organized hatred, we're seeing it from the birth of a nation, david duke who made it sort of normal to speak these words and institute hate, which is more dangerous to me because you're making it so normal, it does president seem like it's coming
from an angry place. >> that is an interesting to your point, your character to david duke's character. there is anger and then there is the idea that there is something going wrong with our culture, that but for the infiltration of in the case of the movie, blacks and jews, everything would be fine. >> i did a lot of research on this character. i read his autobiography called my awakening, which is kind of like his version of his me mein kampf. he was on donohue in the early '80s. on that show he used the term a couple times. he said america first and he said make america great again. >> wow. >> and watching that from 2017 when we were right before we were shooting this movie was really eye opening. >> because the point being make america great again by being an america that isn't, i think the language of the movie, polluted
>> people can read into that phrase whatever they want. >> another nbc poll from may, this is more interesting. it says is there racism in america? 64% say yes it's a problem. 30% say it's not a major problem. and i guess the point is it's not about whether two-thirds -- >> 1% -- >> right. who is who? >> are they in the bronx asking these questions? >> that's my point. that's an interesting thing. the film does an interesting job portraying in this case colorado springs at that time from both white and african-american perspectives. if you started to look at that and you think about the racism that existed back then, how do you sort of overlay that to today? i think there's still, you know, the same people who would say things haven't improved that much for us. >> for me, i've been saying this a lot, too. what i get out of this film, to answer your question directly, is the language. this lexicon of hate. and you see that it's really not
antiindicated. it's prevalent today. ron stallworth, i got to talk to him a lot. he said he would use these trigger words that sort of invited hate. that's how he was able to start his sting operation. >> you portray that well. these two guys are in conversation and how you can say the things people think. again, back to the david duke thing which i think is really an interesting and understated part of this movie, that is that david duke wasn't driven by words that you necessarily associate with those klansmen. it's like he had a more sophisticated approach to racism, which is maybe the kind of racism we have today. >> this movie should not be more relevant today, which it is, than when it takes place. >> gentlemen, thanks very much for being part of this movie. it opens august 10th and it's worth a watch. john david washington and tofer grace. black klansman in theaters august 10th. >> a fascinating conversation to wrap it up for us here this
hour. does that do it for me. please be sure to catch "kasie d.c." sunday's at 7:00 p.m. eastern here on msnbc. thank you so much for watching. "deadline white house" with my friend nicolle wallace starts right now. /s >> hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. there are new signs today that the president is starting to sweat. special counsel robert mueller's obstruction of justice investigation, after the nonnegotiation negotiation over a presidential interview, the president's lawyer last night described out loud and on television exactly what he's afraid of if donald trump ever sits for an interview. rudy giuliani explained exactly how trump could perjure himself and what the topic might be. >> he's going to ask him, did you tell comey to go easy on flynn? the president is going to say, no, i didn't. hey, bob, you know it. why do you want to get him under oath? do you think we're fools? you want to trap him into perjury. we're not going to let you do that. >> get him